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People Moves: Henderson beefs up its Asian equities team; T. Rowe poaches sales chief from UBS GAM
Asset Management
<p>Henderson adds two new hires to its Asian equities team. Wee May Ling, an 18-year veteran of the asset management space, is set to join Henderson Global Investors as an investment manager within its Asian equities team. Prior to joining Henderson, May Ling was with Lloyd George Management in Hong Kong, serving the firm as its portfolio manager running Greater China equities. She began her career in Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Securities in Singapore.</p> <p>Also set to join the British asset manager is Mervyn Koh, an ex-GIC man who will be working as one of the firm’s associate investment managers.  Koh was previously with Franklin Templeton Investments in Singapore, and was most recently a VP within its emerging markets group. He apparently co-managed the firm’s Southeast Asia fund as well. He began his career in the aforementioned GIC.</p> <p>On the firm’s new hires, Andrew Gillan, Henderson’s head of Asia ex-Japan equities, had this to say:<br /> “I am delighted to welcome May Ling and Mervyn to the team. They reflect Henderson’s commitment to increased resource within the region as we look to grow our Asia ex Japan equity products in the coming years.”<br /> They will be both based in Singapore. Henderson</p> <p>UBS GAM managing director moves to T. Rowe. Elsie Chan, a highly regarded player in the asset management intermediary market, has been named head of intermediary sales, Asia by the U.S. firm T. Rowe Price. Scott Keller, the firm’s head of global investment services, Asia Pacific, had this to say:<br /> “Providing top-quality investment solutions to intermediaries throughout the region is one of the key pillars to developing a successful and sustainable business in Asia. Elsie Chan is highly regarded and a very experienced practitioner in the intermediary market. Her deep knowledge and experience of the relevant markets in the region, in particular Hong Kong and Singapore, will enable us to accelerate our offering to intermediaries across the Asia region.”<br /> As previously mentioned, Chan was a managing director for UBS Global Asset Management prior to her jump to T. Rowe, and was responsible for the Swiss firm’s wholesale distribution in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Before that, she had stints at Allianz Dresdner Asset Management as well as in ABN AMRO Asset Management, though she apparently began her career in the U.S. at Merrill Lynch. She will report to Scott Keller. Asia Asset Management</p> <p>For Capital Markets moves, click here.<br /> Photo: Luke Ma</p>
Video: JPMorgan Asset Management tells CNBC Russia is cheap; China real estate bottomed
Asset Management
<p>JPMorgan Asset Management's Andres Garcia-Amaya says China's real estate market has hit a bottom and that Russia is his "biggest overweight." In this CNBC's Fast Money: Halftime Report, Garcia-Amaya notes that Russian markets are trading at a P/E of 4 1/2, lower than the market yield of 5%.  "So either Russia's going bust, or there's a lot more upside and we think there's a lot more upside."</p>
People Moves: Deutsche builds investment team; Portfolio manager leaves Schroders
Asset Management
<p>Deutsche builds asset management team. Hilary Aldridge and Alex Sloane have joined Deutsche Asset &amp; Wealth Management as equity investment specialists in its UK active asset management business. Aldridge most recently worked as a fund of fund manager at Barclays Global Investments Solutionss. Sloane was an equity analyst at Societe Generale in London. Michael Keough and David Hanlon also joined the firm's institutional global client group in the Americas. Hanlon comes to the firm from F-Squared Investments, and Keough joins from BNY Mellon's investment management unit. Reuters</p> <p>Portfolio manager leaves Schroders. Rosemary Banyard will be departing Schroders in March after joining the firm in 1997. For the last 17 years, Banyard has worked closely with Andy Brough to head the firm's mid cap funds. Banyard says she is not joining another firm, but is leaving to spend more time with family. CityWire</p> <p>Sierra Investment Management poaches from Mercer. Sierra hired Spath as CIO, reporting to co-founders Dave Wright and Ken Sleeper. Spath most recently worked for Mercer Advisors, but has also worked for Franklin Templeton Investments, RSF Capital Management, and Fidelity Investments.</p> <p>JP Morgan insurance lead moves to Neuberger. Neruberger Berman has hired Matthew Malloy as global head of insurance solutions. Malloy most recently worked as global head of insurance solutions and advisory at JP Morgan Asset Management. Malloy has previously worked for Goldman Sachs and UBS Investment Bank. Reuters</p> <p>Pioneer Investments promotes portfolio manager. Chin Liu has been named portfolio manager of Pioneer's diversified high income trust. The trust was found in 2007, and run by Andrew Feltus, Jonathan Sharkey, and Charles Melchreit. Liu joined Pioneer in 2007 as a portfolio manager for fixed income.<br /> Photo: ©iStock.com/ooyoo</p>
Short-selling: Karl Loomes picks the six hottest US-listed stocks
Hedge Funds
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p> SunGard's Astec Analytics looks into short-selling activity.</p> <p> This week’s top pick, from a securities lending perspective, is Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).<br /> Other stocks that are seeing substantial short-selling activity include ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP), Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK), Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: JUNO), Fitbit Inc (NYSE: FIT) and GoPro Inc (NASDAQ: GPRO).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SunGard's Astec Analytics provides intraday short-selling market data via securities lending analytics. In a recent report sent to clients, the firm shared a “roundup of some of the hottest stocks from a securities lending perspective.”</p> <p>Below is a look at Karl Loomes’ list of top stocks in the Americas from a security lending perspective.<br /> Amazon<br /> After two consecutive weeks occupying the front-runner spot, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was displaced by Amazon. The online retailer recently banned the sale of Apple and Google streaming on its website, suggesting they don’t “interact well” with the Amazon Prime service, and announced its intentions to extend its one-day delivery service in the U.K. to include frozen and chilled food items – which led to some speculation around increasing competition with and from online supermarkets.</p> <p>The report explained, “The news helped bolster its stock in the cash market, while from a sec lending perspective Astec’s data hints at some growing optimism on the part of short sellers, with having fallen 26 percent during September.”<br /> ZIOPHARM Oncology<br /> Escalating one position in the list this week is ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com<br /> Photo: Rob Hurson</p>
Commodities ETFs want to get back into your portfolio
Asset Management
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the halcyon days of quantitative easing, dollar weakness and inflation expectations, commodities exchange traded products were hits. Just five years ago, there was $125 billion in assets under management across commodities exchange-traded funds and exchange traded notes (ETNs) and there was a time, albeit brief, when the SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSE: GLD) was the largest ETF in the world.</p> <p>Over the past year, commodities ETFs have been beset by dismal performances and massive outflows, prompting some investors to question the value of commodities as core portfolio holdings, even in modest allocations.<br /> What Commodities Are Doing<br /> While the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP), the U.S. dollar index tracking ETF, has climbed 9.3 percent over the past year, commodities ETFs have been decimated. For example, GLD and the iShares Silver Trust (ETF) (NYSE: SLV) have posted an average loss of 6.5 percent, while the United States Oil ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com<br /> Photo: Sajid Pervaiz Fazal</p>
VCs tech investments trump exits for the first time in years
Venture Capital
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Investors are now pumping more money into US startups than they are getting back in the form of exits.</p> <p>According to a report by CBInsights, total funding for this year has reached $42 billion, about $16 billion more than the $26 billion generated through exits.</p> <p>What's more, the VC investment total for the year to date has already surpassed that of 2014, and is more than double that of the 2010.  Exits meanwhile are less than a fifth of what they were in 2012.</p> <p>Fluctuations in exits and investments are to be expected over a long period. VC investments typically have a 5-year lifespan, while the fund life-cycle is anywhere between 8-10 years.</p> <p>Many of the VC funds making exits and returning capital to investors during 2012 have since returned to the market with follow-on funds. This means a lot of those VCs exiting investments in 2012 have raised and are spending the next three to four years deploying capital.</p> <p>That said, there are other trends to consider. Companies are staying private longer and funding rounds are getting larger, pushing up private market valuations. The upshot is that the funding aggregate is exceeding exit valuations faster -- even if we witness a number of large liquidity events in the fourth quarter.<br /> Photo: Indigo Skies</p>
Value investing with legends – Lei Zhang’s lecture at Columbia Business School
Asset Management
<p>Value Investing With Legends – Lei Zhang's (Hillhouse Capital) Lecture At Columbia Business School by Zong Z. Peng: Art, Travel, Entrepreneurship, and Investing:</p> <p>In the high flying world of investing, Lei Zhang maintains a relatively low profile. Yet since he was seeded by David Swensen of Yale Endowment with $20 million in 2005, he has achieved a ~40% compounded annual return (28x not adjusting for inflation), making him one of the best performing investment managers. To put it into perspective, Warren Buffett has achieved a compounded annual return of ~22%, albeit for the past 50 years!! Today, Lei Zhang’s Hillhouse Capital, named after a street nearby Yale where Lei received his MBA and master’s in public policy, manages ~$18 billion. Thought not just focused on tech, Lei is best known for backing several most successful Chinese internet entrepreneurs and start-ups (e.g. Tencent, JD.com). On April 29th, Lei paid a visit to the “Temple of Value Investing” Columbia Business School to share his investing and life lessons.</p> <p>For those who crave for brevity, here is the essence of the lessons that Lei Zhang shared:</p> <p> Being a long-term investor gives you a big advantage from the starting line.<br /> Do deep fundamental research, make few bets instead of keeping on chasing ideas. This way you simply your life and your business.<br /> Hillhouse invests in changes and strives to help create value through entrepreneur-like thinking and problem solving. “We are entrepreneurs so happen to be investors”<br /> Spend quality time with quality people, doing quality things. Hopefully part of the outcome is making money.<br /> Stay connected to reality and everyday life, do not become a victim of your own success.<br /> Four most important traits in people that Lei looks for: intellectual curiosity, intellectual independence, intellectual honesty, and empathy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For those who want more details and articulations, read on:</p> <p> Investment Strategy</p> <p> Flexibility – Lei only had one investor in his fund when starting out Hillhouse – David Swensen from Yale Endowment seeded Hillhouse with $20 million. He could have raised more money with Swensen’s endorsement but did not. He wanted to start with a solid foundation, a strategy that allows him 100% flexibility to invest in whatever he believes in and is passionate about, be it public equity, venture capital, or private equity. In Lei’s words “it’s not about the format but about the essence.” To him the essence is to invest in companies that he thinks make sense, truly believes in, run by people who he respects and are open-minded, and could compound capital over a long stretch of time no matter what stage the company is in. In terms of his investment team, Lei believes in a generalist model and prides himself on being one of the analysts.</p> <p> Long Term Orientation – Hillhouse is a long-term investor. Lei thinks that when you have a long-term orientation, from day one you have a huge advantage over most people – it’s what he calls free option value of time arbitrage. His view on the Chinese stock market at the time of thi</p>
Startup heavy-hitters in Indonesia launch $150 million fund for early stage companies
Venture Capital
<p>Three top startup investors are putting together a new band with support from the Indonesian family conglomerate Lippo Group.</p> <p>The new firm, Venturra Capital, will target Series A and B deals in Southeast Asia raising between $2 million and $5 million -- but will also consider seed candidates.  This will be an interesting group to follow -- the founders have impressive credentials: Stefan Jung is co-founder of German incubator Rocket Internet; Johny Riady, was a director at Lippo Group, and Rudy Ramawy was in charge of Indonesia for Google.</p> <p>Tech in Asia reports the fund has already raised $15o million, mostly from  Lippo. The fund is successor to Lippo Digital Venture (LDV) - Lippo's corporate VC arm where Ramawy was managing partner.</p> <p>Venturra has absorbed LDV's portfolio of investments previously made off of Lippo's balance sheet. However, Lippo's role will be restricted to limited partner.</p> <p>Between them the founders have an investment track record the covers start-ups such as GrabTaxi, Traveloka, HappyFresh, Bridestory, Munchery, and MatahariMall. The fund will focus on e-commerce, fintech, and healthcare.  Jung - who last set up Monk's Hill Ventures' Jakarta office - says the firm is open to earlier stage investments:<br /> "We are considering ourselves agnostic in terms of stage preference. We are still keeping ourselves open to early stage and seed rounds. If we’ve known the entrepreneur for a while and want to support them from day one, then we will surely consider investing.”<br /> Photo: The Diary of a Hotel Addict<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Will the Fed lift rates this month?
Hedge Funds
<p>Here’s an intriguing thought. Yra Harris, the low-key futures vet who was featured in Steven Drobny’s “Inside the House of Money,” recently opined that he thinks the Fed is going to lift rates this October.</p> <p>Why? Well, apparently San Francisco Fed President John Williams telegraphed the move in his latest speech:<br /> “Why do I think the rate increase is coming? Williams gave three hints in a speech he delivered today, ‘The Economic Outlook:Live Long and Prosper.’</p> <p>1. ‘In addition, an earlier start to raising rates would allow us to ENGINEER a smoother, more gradual process of policy normalization. That would give us space to fine-tune our responses to react to economic conditions. In contrast, raising rates too late would force us into the position of a steeper and more abrupt path of rate hikes, which doesn’t leave much room for maneuver. Not to mention, it could roil financial markets and slow the economy in unintended ways.’</p> <p>2. ‘I am starting to see signs of imbalances emerge  in the form of high asset prices, especially in real estate, and that trips the alert system;’ and</p> <p>3. ‘When unemployment was at its 10 percent peak during the height of the Great Recession, and as it struggled to come down during the recovery, we needed rapid declines to get the economy back on track. NOW THAT WE’RE GETTING CLOSER, THE PACE MUST START SLOWING TO MORE NORMAL LEVELS. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, WE’RE GOING TO NEED AT MOST 100,000 NEW JOBS EACH MONTH.’ [emphasis all mine]”<br /> The man has a point. Williams’ speech, while littered with Fed speak meant to offset Yellen’s post-decision presser, is absolutely hawkish at its core. And the fact that he’s one of the FOMC’s members should make it something more of note. Timing however was not quite apparent, though Harris does have a compelling reason for October:<br /> “I say October because I believe December is too late as year-end funding issues will cause unwanted volatility in the REPO MARKET.”<br /> It’s still a little too early to call though. Federal fund futures are still giving a 2015 hike the thumbs down, but the FOMC minutes are coming up tonight and that could change the entire ball game. Stay tuned.<br /> Photo: Anne-Lise Heinrichs</p>
PLDT builds SoftBank-style web of influence
Venture Capital
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recent decision by PLDT (Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company) to launch its own venture capital unit is the latest in a series of moves by telecoms giant that are reminiscent of its larger Japanese counterpart SoftBank.</p> <p>Just as SoftBank has grown its internet and media empire by drawing on an expanding global web of early stage investments, PLDT is also turning to venture capital to help build its own kingdom.</p> <p>The new investment unit - PLDT Capital - will not be based in the Philippines but instead it will be based in Los Angeles. But its remit will be to try and tap innovative Silicon Valley and Southeast Asia-based startups that can contribute to its own ecosystem. Winston Damarillo, Managing Director of PLDT Capital, had this to say:<br /> “The PLDT Group serves more than 70 million mobile and internet customers in the ASEAN region,”In addition to investments, PLDT Capital aims to become the gateway for the most promising startups to expand their opportunities to the fast growing digital consumers in the ASEAN region.”  <br /> This is by no means its first foray in venture capital. The firm made headlines earlier this year when it bought a 10% stake in Rocket Internet, the German incubator and venture capital investor that is currently driving an e-commerce revolution in Southeast Asia and other emerging markets globally.</p> <p>The firm also recently swallowed up Singapore's Paywhere, the start-up  behind TackThis, an ecommerce platform that operates on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, through its digital innovations unit: Voyager Innovations.</p> <p>Corporations using venture capital investments to tap innovation is neither new nor unique. That said, the way PLDT (a telecoms company like SoftBank) is using VC to broaden its global influence and access new verticals - notably e-commerce - shares a few parallels with the Japanese giant.</p> <p>Of course PLDT has nowhere near the size, or the war chest, of a firm like SoftBank. Perhaps PLDT looking for that one big hit in same the way SoftBank had its home run with Chinese e-commerce Alibaba. Setting up shop in Silicon Valley certainly increases their chances of finding it.<br /> Photo: Rod </p>